This controversy has been going on in NYC for years now. It's a combination of NIMBY issues, politics, and economics.
Let's say you happen to live near a bar. That bar starts to hire a DJ
on weekends to make more business. Loud, danceable music has an interesting way of making people drink more.
You'll naturally get a somewhat louder and rowdier crowd that will party right until closing time. . . which is 4 AM
in NYC. Those revelers might then hang out right outside the closed bar for a while longer, maybe smoke something illegal, maybe they have a loud sound system in their cars or make a ruckus while trying to flag down a taxi, etc. etc.
So it's not so much the dancing taking place in the bar that's the real issue, just all the other stuff that almost inevitably is associated with these spaces.
Eventually what happens is neighborhood forces come together to put legal pressure on the bar's owner until he relents.
Over the past decade, the city has been trying to "zone" the dancing spaces into mid-sized and large-sized lofts or warehouses way out on the west side of Manhattan or other non-residential areas. If they allow smaller sized bars in residential areas to have dancing without a "cabaret" license, they're just going to have to process and hear more complaints, send more cops out to patrol those areas, and so on. . .
So the cabaret license, and limiting in which sections such a license is even granted, has become an important tool in controlling nightlife, in addition to the liquor license.
But now, the city has an even more powerful weapon at its disposal. The latest thing that has struck absolute fear into the hearts of many bar and nightclub owners is the crackdown on underage drinking.
I don't really go out clubbing so this doesn't bother me that much, but the last time I went out, the huge bouncer at the entrance SCANNED my driver's license with some device. . . and then he took a picture of me with a professional camera.
FWIW, I'm 34 years old. My hair is thinning out on the top and I do not dress like a "hoodie."
My sister mentioned to me a couple of months ago, she was out with a friend on Sat. night and the bar was shut down by cops due to a bust on underage drinking.
So yeah, it's gotten kind of ridiculous, especially within the past six months.
[Edited 2007-02-25 01:51:13]